Posted in CEO

BACon Blog - New Association CEOs: The 60/360 PlanBecoming the new CEO at an association is very exciting. A wide range of challenges and opportunities are laid out before you and everyone is looking to you to help lead the association into the future. The association board of directors and association staff want you to succeed and want to help you succeed.

But there is a precarious balancing act that you need to maintain: Building the trust of the board of directors and staff, reassuring the board and staff during a time of transition, but also putting into place a new direction for the association, both strategically and operationally.

The first step is to create a 60/360 Plan: A plan for your first 60 days and for your first year. Here are the steps to take:

    • Review the interview process. During the interview process you learned a lot about the association, about the desires and hopes of the board of directors, and you may also have had the opportunity to talk with the association staff. You were also asked to provide your views and thoughts about the association and the direction in which it is headed. Synthesize this information.
    • Gather information. Information about the association as well as the profession or industry that your association represents. Read through the information and get as educated as possible.
    • Reach out. Building on the information you’ve gleaned from the interview process and the information gathering process, set up a series of meetings and phone calls with key member leaders, key staff, external constituency groups, and ask for their input and advice. Listen and take copious notes.
    • Draft the plan. Draft your 60/360 Plan. Put what you have heard into two sets of action lists: 60 days and one year. Share the plan with your senior staff team and get their thoughts and input.
    • Present your plan. Present your plan to the board. Not just the words on the page but prepare a professional presentation for the board of directors on what you intend to do in the next 60 days and in your first year of employment. Facilitate a dialogue with the board to get their group input on your plan. Once finalized, get the board to formally vote on the plan.

By taking this approach, you will have achieved three things that will benefit you throughout your tenure as CEO:

    • You will have shown that you will be open to the input and ideas of the key individuals and groups from the association.
    • You will have shown that you are committed to spending most your time working on your relationship with the board of directors so that the board-CEO team is as effective as possible.
    • You will have received the support of the board of directors for the actions required in the next 60 days and the next year.

Once you’ve completed the 60/360 Plan, you can get to work!

John Barnes is President of Barnes Association Consultants. Barnes Association Consultants helps association Boards and CEOs address the wide range of challenges and opportunities facing today’s association leaders. Barnes Association Consultants helps association leaders make their associations better.

John can be reached at or 703.321.6866. For more information about Barnes Association Consultants, go to